When the time is right where will you get your dog? Here’s three sources that I recommend now when you are looking for your next dog.

1. Shelter.  Unless you want to show a particular breed in conformation or obedience, there is no reason why you need to have a particular bred of dog.  In fact, some dogs at shelters might  indeed be the breed that fits your lifestyle.  They just may not conform to the breed standard, and they may not act like the breed either.  This should not matter if you aren’t interested in showing.  If you have problems with the way a dog looks, then you probably need to rethink the idea of getting a dog, period. I would advise bringing someone who is dog behavior savvy to assist you in evaluating the dogs available for adoption. If you decide to go this route, you might need to be persistent and diligent about finding the dog you want to bring into your own.

2. Established and Reputable Rescue.  Dogs in breed specific rescues are just as lovable and typically rehabilitated to be great pets by the time they are ready to be adopted.  These people have dedicated their time, effort, energy, money, and soul into saving dogs.  These are the people who are cleaning up after irresponsible breeders and owners.  Rescues also get puppies often, so don’t rule them out if you just have to have a puppy. Do be very, very diligent in researching the rescue group. Make sure that they disclose everything about their adoptable dogs in terms of health, behavior, and source of the dog.

3. Reputable breeders usually have pet quality puppies and retired show dogs available. These dogs are generally perfect pets that just happen to not show in conformation. Unless you’ve been judging, showing, or handling in AKC conformation, you will never know the difference between a show quality or pet quality dog. Just as with shelters and rescue groups, make sure you check out the breeder to make sure that he/she is breeding for reasons that resonate with you. Most reputable breeders will have health clearances for their dogs as well as evidence of passion for the breed. They may be active in breed clubs, kennel clubs, or sporting clubs. They may also serve as mentors for newcomers to the breed.

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